How Argyll & Bute works: Castle Toward and the saga of the area committee

In a number of previous posts, I have referred to the fact that the area committee was bypassed when the Castle Toward estate sale was being considered. The most recent post on this is here.

It’s worth reading the link in the above post to the correspondence to see what I was told about a previous decision of the council, details of which could not be found. The correspondence is now in the hands of Audit Scotland and I am meeting with them again later in July to discuss this and other issues.

I have been doing a bit of research into the scandalous history of the Castle Toward estate and I recently submitted a Freedom of Information request to the council. This resulted in me getting a pack of information through the post today. One of the documents was a minute of a meeting held in late 2003 where it was agreed to refer the sale of Castle Toward to the same area committee that is today being bypassed time and time again.

I have today sent the following email  to Mr Hendry, copy to Cllr Walsh, and I hope this helps them find the missing minute. I will update you once it appears.

Mr Hendry, I have just been reading the minute of the Strategic Policy Committee held on 2 October 2003 at which you and Cllr Walsh were in attendance.

At item 21 it was agreed to “pursue the commercial disposal of Castle Toward and its policies by lease or sale” and “to remit powers to the Bute and Cowal Area Committee to deal with the marketing and disposal of the property”.

You told me on 22 June, see below, that the policy on this being a “strategic” property with disposal only by the full council had been in place for “at least 10 years”. You also had earlier told me you were unable to trace the minute that reflects this. 10 years takes us back to 2005 and the decision to let the area committee handle this was made, as we now know, in October 2003.

That means that the decision to reverse the one made on 2 October 2003 was made sometime between that date and some point in the first half of 2005. On the assumption that such a reversal is unlikely to have occurred within 6 months of 2 October 2003, that leaves us the period from April 2004 to, say, June 2005 or just over a year. At the outside, there is a 20 month period involved.

I hope this information is helpful to you because it must surely now be simple to establish when the decision you can’t find was made.

I look forward to your reply at the earliest opportunity with a copy of the minute in question.

Thank you

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.

One thought on “How Argyll & Bute works: Castle Toward and the saga of the area committee”

  1. Terrific Michael. Your continued pursuance of this outrageous situation could be considered as being the modern day version of Elliott Ness trying to show Capon and his disciples the error of their ways. Keep on at them.

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